A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.
SANCTUARY, RIGHT OF
The claim to protection for those fleeing from justice or persecution. THe right of sanctuary was based on the inviolability attached to sacred things. Although generally confined to a church, it was later extended to the surrounding precincts. There was often a large ring or knocker on the church door, the holding of which gave a person the right of assylum. The privilege did not apply to sacrilege or high treason.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.